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O’Bannon attorney to NCAA: don’t punish current athlete added to suit


The judge presiding over the Ed O’Bannon vs. NCAA case ruled last week that at least one current athlete can be added to the list of plaintiffs in the case. While that’s not to be confused with a ruling in favor of making this a class-action case, it does suggest the plaintiffs could see at least part of the case be certified.

Whatever the result, the plaintiffs want to make sure whoever joins their cause isn’t punished. Via, the lead attorney for the O’Bannon plaintiffs, Michael Hausfeld, has asked the NCAA to agree in writing to not retaliate against any current athlete who joins the case. The letter asks the NCAA to agree that “participation in this litigation by a current student athlete does not violate any NCAA rule (spanning the constitution, operating bylaws, and administrative bylaws) contained in the 2012-13 NCAA Division I manual or otherwise compromise a student athlete’s eligibility.”

(Writer’s note: No, we don’t know if it’s Johnny Manziel. Yes, that’d be awesome.) 

It shouldn’t be an issue, but it is a formality. Although the NCAA issued a statement saying it hasn’t seen the letter, the association promised during the June 20 hearing it would not retaliate against any player who joins the suit.

Still, plaintiffs will need to file an amended complaint with a “John Doe” request for added protection for the athlete.

Even if the NCAA promises not to take any action against the current athlete, the player will still be open to plenty of criticism in a best-case scenario.

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5 Responses to “O’Bannon attorney to NCAA: don’t punish current athlete added to suit”
  1. thegamecocker says: Jul 9, 2013 9:39 AM

    I think the players will win this case and collect a wind-fall of money. Oh, and the lawyers will do incredibly well also. Probably better than any individual player.

  2. amosalanzostagg says: Jul 9, 2013 10:09 AM

    This suit is not about football nor Men’s basketball. It is about “pay for play.” Student Athletes are compensated with the “opportunity” to obtain a college education that the remaining 99% of a student body would love to have. That being said. the suit will proceed and their is a better than average shot that the plaintiffs will win.

    Until reality sets in

    Title IX will come into play and women sports will rightly demand the exact same benefits as the men’s. Forget that football and Men’s basketball pay the way, women’s field hockey wants the same stipend that the big boys will receive.

    The winners with be the top tier programs with large alumni bases that can and will absorb the costs. The losers will be the mid majors and Division II and Division III schools whose athletic budgets are lean to begin with.

    I fully expect another division within the NCAA comprised of the top tier programs exclusively and the remaining divisions will have their bowls and division championships to have the goal set for them.

    Enjoy college football now, these are the good old days.


  3. Anoesis says: Jul 9, 2013 10:53 AM


    While it looks like a ruling against the NCAA would mean colleges have to pay players, I believe it is more about the NCAA and third parties making money off of athlete’s images (think video games and TV rights). I could see trust funds established that would go to players upon the end of their college careers, with the money coming from product sales endorsed by the NCAA.

    The NCAA has already been on the wrong side of this money game. In 1984, the Supreme Court ruled on NCAA v. Board of Regents, an antitrust lawsuit brought by member schools who objected to the NCAA’s control over television broadcast contracts.

    The NCAA argued that if it lost, it would doom college sports.

    The NCAA lost. Since then, the annual growth rate of FBS college athletic departments has been 8.2 percent, fueled by growing TV contracts negotiated by conferences. Big-time college sports has grown faster than the U.S. economy (5.0 percent).

    Established behemoths in any industry always claim that any change in the status quo will result in anarchy and a total destruction of life as we know it. Despite that sort of predictably overblown hype, life seems to progress just fine.

    Being forced to share at least some of the largess the NCAA and its member institutions rake in every year off of the backs of its athletes won’t change college sports all that much. It’s a huge business. Having to cut up that fat pie a little differently won’t make it go away.

    P.S. I don’t see the connection between the distribution of money made from men’s sports and Title IX. Certain men’s sports make money for colleges (gobs of money) and should be more equitably distributed based on players’ contribution. Obviously their contribution is much greater than just a scholarship.

    The same cannot be said for women’s sports, as the overall monetary contribution generated by the players is likely not equal to the value of a scholarship. It’s the free market, where the value of the product is set by who wants to buy it and how much of it there is. Supply and demand.

  4. 8to80texansblog says: Jul 9, 2013 11:07 AM

    Oh I definitely think Title IX comes into play here. While yes, I agree with your logic that the football team brings in FAR more revenue than the women’s volleyball team, that’s the whole point of Title IX. Title IX was designed to ensure that womens sports got the “same” benefits as men’s sports, same amount of scholarships, same stipends, same everything. Revenue sports have always funded the non revenue sports within an athletic department and it won’t be any different here.

  5. uziele says: Jul 9, 2013 11:58 AM

    I don’t see it as apples to apples. Title IX says that there needs to be an equal amount of scholarship dollars male to female. This already creates unequal benefits as a baseball player probably splits a scholarship, while a football and basketball player probably has a full scholarship…

    I don’t see this changing. The revenue sports will still pay for the non-revenue scholarships.

    This is about distribution of wealth to those that generate the wealth. And since the football and basketball programs generate the wealth, the football and basketball players are the ones that should get their share of the billions of dollars they procure.

    Title IX will have nothing to do with this lawsuit, nor vice versa.

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